The soldier thus endowed, who never shrinks
Nor closets up his thought, whate'er he thinks,
Who scorns to do an injury by stealth,
Must go to heaven-and I must drink his health.
Sir Smug," he cries (for lowest at the board,
Just made fifth chaplain of his patron lord,
His shoulders witnessing by many a shrug
How much his feelings suffered, sat Sir Smug),
Your office is to winnow false from true;
Come, prophet, drink, and tell us, what think you?”
Sighing and smiling as he takes his glass,
Which they that woo preferment rarely pass,
"Fallible man,” the church-bred youth replies,
"Is still found fallible, however wise;


And differing judgments serve but to declare,
That truth lies somewhere, if we knew but where.
Of all it ever was my lot to read,

Of critics now alive, or long since dead,
The book of all the world that charmed me most
Was-well-a-day, the title-page was lost;
The writer well remarks, a heart that knows
To take with gratitude what Heaven bestows,
With prudence always ready at our call,
To guide our use of it, is all in all.
Doubtless it is.-To which, of my own store,
I superadd a few essentials more;

But these, excuse the liberty I take,

I waive just now, for conversation sake."—


Spoke like an oracle !" they all exclaim,

And add Right Reverend to Smug's honoured name.

And yet our lot is given us in a land,
Where busy arts are never at a stand;
Where Science points her telescopic eye,
Familiar with the wonders of the sky;
Where bold Inquiry, diving out of sight,
Brings many a precious pearl of truth to light;
Where nought eludes the persevering quest,
That fashion, taste, or luxury suggest.

But above all, in her own light arrayed,
See Mercy's grand apocalypse displayed!
The Sacred Book no longer suffers wron,
Bound in the fetters of an unknown tongue;
But speaks, with plainness art could never mend,
What simplest minds can soonest comprehend.
God gives the word, the preachers throng around,
Live from his lips, and spread the glorious sound :
That sound bespeaks Salvation on her way,
The trumpet of a life-restoring day;

'Tis heard where England's Eastern glory shines,
And in the gulfs of her Cornubian mines.
And still it spreads. See Germany send forth
Her sons to pour it on the farthest north :







Fired with a zeal peculiar, they defy
The rage and rigour of a polar sky,
And plant successfully sweet Sharon's Rose
On icy plains, and in eternal snows.

O blessed within the inclosure of your rocks,
Nor herds have ye to boast, nor bleating flocks,
No fertilizing streams your fields divide,
That show, reversed, the villas on their side;
No groves have ye; no cheerful sound of bird,
Or voice of turtle, in your land is heard;
Nor grateful eglantine regales the smell
Of those that walk at evening where ye dwell:
But Winter, armed with terrors here unknown,
Sits absolute on his unshaken throne;

Piles up his stores amidst the frozen waste,
And bids the mountains he has built stand fast;
Beckons the legions of his storms away
From happier scenes, to make your land a prey;
Proclaims the soil a conquest he has won,
And scorns to share it with the distant sun.

-Yet Truth is yours, remote, unenvied isle !
And Peace, the genuine offspring of her smile;
The pride of lettered ignorance, that binds
In chains of error our accomplished minds,
That decks, with all the splendour of the true,
A false religion, is unknown to you.
Nature indeed vouchsafes for our delight
The sweet vicissitudes of day and night;
Soft airs and genial moisture feed and cheer
Field, fruit, and flower, and every creature here;
But brighter beams than his who fires the skies
Have risen at length on your admiring eyes,
That shoot into your darkest caves the day,
From which our nicer optics turn away.

Here see the encouragement Grace gives to vice,
The dire effect of mercy without price!

What were they? What some fools are made by art
€ They were by nature, atheists, head and heart.
The gross idolatry blind heathens teach

Was too refined for them, beyond their reach.
Not even the glorious sun, though men revere
The monarch most that seldom will appear,
And though his beams, that quicken where they shine,
May claim some right to be esteemed divine,
Not even the sun, desirable as rare,

Could bend one knee, engage one votary there ;
They were, what base credulity believes

True Christians are, dissemblers, drunkards, thieves.
The full-gorged savage, at his nauseous feast
Spent half the darkness, and snored out the rest,
Was one whom Justice, on an equal plan
Denouncing death upon the sins of man,






Might almost have indulged with an escape,
Chargeable only with a human shape.

What are they now?-Morality may spare
Her grave concern, her kind suspicions there:
The wretch who once sang wildly, danced, and laughed,
And sucked in dizzy madness with his draught,
Has wept a silent flood, reversed his ways,
Is sober, meek, benevolent, and prays,
Feeds sparingly, communicates his store,
Abhors the craft he boasted of before,
And he that stole has learned to steal no more.
Well spake the prophet, "Let the desert sing:
Where sprang the thorn, the spiry fir shall spring ;
And where unsightly and rank thistles grew,
Shall grow the myrtle and luxuriant yew."


Go now, and with important tone demand
On what foundation virtue is to stand,
If self-exalting claims be turned adrift,
And grace be grace indeed, and life a gift;
The poor reclaimed inhabitant, his eyes
Glistening at once with pity and surprise,
Amazed that shadows should obscure the sight
Of one whose birth was in the land of light,
Shall answer, Hope, sweet Hope, has set me free,
And made all pleasures else mere dross to me."
These, amidst scenes as waste as if denied
The common care that waits on all beside,
Wild as if Nature there, void of all good,
Played only gambols in a frantic mood,
(Yet charge not heavenly skill with having planned
A plaything world, unworthy of his hand;)
Can see his love, though secret evil lurks
In all we touch, stamped plainly on his works;
Deem life a blessing with its numerous woes,
Nor spurn away a gift a God bestows.

Hard task indeed o'er Arctic seas to roam !
Is hope exotic? grows it not at home?
Yes; but an object, bright as orient morn,
May press the eye too closely to be borne:
A distant virtue we can all confess;

It hurts our pride, and moves our envy, less.
Leuconomus (beneath well-sounding Greek
I slur a name a poet must not speak)
Stood pilloried on infamy's high stage,
And bore the pelting scorn of half an age;
The very butt of slander, and the blot
For every dart that malice ever shot.

The man that mentioned him at once dismissed
All mercy from his lips, and sneered, and hissed;
His crimes were such as Sodom never knew,
And Perjury stood up to swear all true;
His aim was mischief, and his zeal pretence,






His speech rebellion against common sense;
A knave, when tried on honesty's plain rule,
And when by that of reason, a mere fool;
The world's best comfort was, his doom was passed,
Die when he might, he must be damned at last.

Now, Truth, perform thine office; waft aside The curtain drawn by prejudice and pride, Reveal (the man is dead) to wondering eyes This more than monster in his proper guise.

He loved the world that hated him: the tear
That dropped upon his Bible was sincere :
Assailed by scandal and the tongue of strife,
His only answer was a blameless life;

And he that forged, and he that threw the dart,
Had each a brother's interest in his heart.

Paul's love of Christ, and steadiness unbribed,
Were copied close in him, and well transcribed.
He followed Paul; his zeal a kindred flame,
His apostolic charity the same.

Like him, crossed cheerfully tempestuous seas,
Forsaking country, kindred, friend
and ease;
Like him he laboured, and like him content
To bear it, suffered shame where'er he went.

Blush, Calumny; and write upon his tomb,
If honest eulogy can spare thee room,
Thy deep repentance of thy thousand lies,
Which, aimed at him, have pierced the offended skies!
And say, "Blot out my sin, confessed, deplored,
Against thine image in thy saint, O Lord!”
No blinder bigot, I maintain it still,

Than he who must have pleasure, come what will:
He laughs, whatever weapon Truth may draw,
And deems her sharp artillery mere straw.
Scripture indeed is plain; but God and he
On Scripture ground are sure to disagree;
Some wiser rule must teach him how to live
Than that his Maker has seen fit to give;
Supple and flexible as Indian catie,
To take the bend his appetites ordain;
Contrived to suit frail nature's crazy case,
And reconcile his lusts with saving grace.
By this, with nice precision of design,
He draws upon life's map a zigzag line,
That shows how far 'tis safe to follow sin,
And where his danger and God's wrath begin.
By this he forms, as pleased he sports along,
His well-poised estimate of right and wrong;
And finds the modish manners of the day,
Though loose, as harmless as an infant's play.
Build by whatever plan caprice decrees,
With what materials, on what ground you please;
Your hope shall stand unblamed, perhaps admired,








If not that hope the Scripture has required.
The strange conceits, vain projects, and wild dreams,
With which hypocrisy for ever teems,
(Though other follies strike the public eye,
And raise a laugh) pass unmolested by;
But if, unblameable in word and thought,
A man arise, a man whom God has taught,
With all Elijah's dignity of tone,

And all the love of the beloved John,

To storm the citadels they build in air,

And smite the untempered wall 'tis death to spare ;
To sweep away all refuges of lies,

And place, instead of quirks themselves devise,
LAMA SABACHTHANI before their eyes;

To prove, that without Christ all gain is loss,
All hope despair, that stands not on his cross;
Except the few his God may have impressed,
A tenfold frenzy seizes all the rest.

Throughout mankind, the Christian kind at least,
There dwells a consciousness in every breast,
That folly ends where genuine hope begins,
And he that finds his heaven must lose his sins.
Nature opposes with her utmost force
This riving stroke, this ultimate divorce;
And, while religion seems to be her view,
Hates with a deep sincerity the true:
For this, of all that ever influenced man,
Since Abel worshipped, or the world began,
This only spares no lust, admits no plea,
But makes him, if at all, completely free;
Sounds forth the signal, as she mounts her car,
Of an eternal, universal war;

Rejects all treaty, penetrates all wiles,

Scorns with the same indifference frowns and smiles;
Drives through the realms of Sin, where Riot reels,
And grinds his crown beneath her burning wheels!
Hence all that is in man, pride, passion, art,
Powers of the mind, and feelings of the heart,
Insensible of Truth's almighty charms,
Starts at her first approach, and sounds to arms!
While Bigotry, with well-dissembled fears,
His eyes shut fast, his fingers in his ears,
Mighty to parry and push by God's word
With senseless noise, his argument the sword,
Pretends a zeal for godliness and grace,
And spits abhorrence in the Christian's face.

Parent of Hope, immortal Truth! make known
Thy deathless wreaths and triumphs all thine own:
The silent progress of thy power is such,
Thy means so feeble, and despised so much,
That few believe the wonders thou hast wrought,
And none can teach them, but whom thou hast taught.






« ForrigeFortsett »